The last time we were in Isaiah 40 we look at parts of Isaiah’s great vision of the might, wisdom, and power of our God. We with Judah beheld our God. We concluded by asking a very simple and important question, “How big is your God?” Often our problem is our mental image of God is too small. If we were in David’s sandals facing nine foot nine inch Goliath with just our sling and five stones, would we recognize our God is bigger and stronger than Goliath who right then attacks to kill us? A giant determined to exterminate us tests how real and how big our God is to us. David knew God was bigger than Goliath and so he defeated the giant and delivered Israel.
Keeping firmly in mind the immensity and might of the God we viewed over Isaiah’s shoulder, we now fast forward to the end of this vision to draw the great application from this text. What good is this infinite, majestic, all powerful God to us?
Isaiah answers by underlining in summary God’s greatness and then showing what this greatness means to us. When Isaiah called Judah to behold their God, nothing in this revelation should have been new. Isaiah reminded his readers of this reality in verse 28. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.”
Judah’s God is a great and mighty God. He is great because He is eternal. God is the same God who has always existed. His power knows no limit. He did not become feeble with age. He never changes or gets old and frail.
Second, Judah’s God is great because He is Elohim the all-powerful one, and Yahweh the God who has always cared for them. The LORD indeed has always been their shepherd as He is ours.
Third, Yahweh is great because He created all things. He also sustains and rules all of His creation. The God, who created everything out of nothing, is still able to take care of us.
Fourth, God is great because He never gets tired or gives up. God does not decline in power and might. He is always working on our behalf and never needs to sleep or take a vacation.
Finally, our God is great and mighty because He understands all things. Even our tiniest personal needs are not out of His sight. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Paul, after telling us in Romans 9-11 how God’s plan of redemption unfolded through history, concluded with this tremendous doxology: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out.” (Romans 11:33).
God is a God of boundless power. What a wonderful truth. Still, what difference does this fact make in our lives? We need to know our God is infinite in power (unlike the idols) because our God is also the God who shares His might and strength with us.
“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29). God willingly provides strength for those of His children who need strength. Our problem is He gives strength to those who have no might, the weak. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
After telling us God wants to supply some of His infinite power and might to those who are weak, Isaiah defines what kind of power this is. If we are going to understand what this strength is, we need to wrap our minds around what it is not. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall.” (Isaiah 40:30). This is not natural strength. Who is naturally strong, vital, and able to perform feats of strength? The young are. This verse is Hebrew poetry, so to emphasize the point, Isaiah rhymed the thought to highlight what this strength is not. It is not the natural strength of the young, which eventually fails. The rookie of the year will eventually retire. Even the choice young men (top athletes) chosen for their skill and ability will lose their strength. They will not be strong forever.
The strength God provides is supernatural strength. Verse 31 contains such vivid imagery that sometimes we are so caught up in the spectacle of the words that we miss the point. “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
They who wait with hope upon the LORD will renew their strength. Waiting upon God is more than sitting around and twiddling our thumbs. Waiting on God is actively believing and resting on the promises of God. Waiting on the Lord is also obeying His commands and doing His work, trusting God to work in us. The Ampified Bible translates this verse, “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength.”
If we wait with hope and faith on God, we will find His strength renewing us. We will learn in the worst situations that His faithfulness and steadfast love is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). We will learn like Paul that God’s plan for today is the outward person perishing, but the inward man being renewed (2 Corinthians 4:16). The source of our strength, unlike the power lines, never fails. Our Lord is constantly supplying us the strength that we need to get through the situation.
Isaiah breaks out with a verbal image so beautiful that we love to quote it, but seldom understand. “They shall mount up with wings like eagles.” Eagles are strong majestic birds which soar above the earth. Some commentators get caught up in zoological details Isaiah did not know nor did he have in mind. The point is that eagles are strong, seemingly immune to destruction, and very beautiful. We too can learn to soar above the circumstances of life in the power of the LORD if we learn to draw strength from our God.
Finally, in contrast with the youthful athletes in verse 30, those who wait on God will have all the strength and stamina they will require to complete the path God has placed before them. “They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Ultimately, Isaiah asks us, “How big is your God?” The song says, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty/There’s nothing my God cannot do./ My God is so big, so strong and so mighty/There’s nothing my God cannot do./The mountains are His, The valleys are His,/ The stars are His handiwork too.” While all of creation is His, do we realize we are His also? The Psalmist wrote: “Our God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in the time of trouble.” Psalm 46:1. Martin Luther found refuge and strength in this Psalm from troubles that make ours pale in comparison. Perhaps, we can find refuge in it also and hope in the Lord, have our strength renewed so we can soar over the trials of this present life and glorify our LORD.